Gun Review: Ruger SR1911 Review

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    John Brownings greatest pistol creation is 100 years old this year. What is interesting is this iconic pistol is more popular now than ever. In fact we seem to have a new 1911 coming out every few months.

    Some may say the markets flooded with 1911s so why do companies keep turning out new ones? Gun makers create and market what sells and 1911s sell very well no matter what price point they are in.

    Of course we have those who say it’s outdated, an antique which is a statement usually made by self proclaimed pistol experts. Well everyone is entitled to an opinion but the huge number of owners and new buyers have a different opinion on this grand design. Lets not forget the military special operations forces who use 1911s when going in harms way. Not to mention police departments who issue or allow the carry of the 1911.

    Ruger was bound to get into the 1911 game sooner or later and I’m glad they have finally taken the plunge. I’m sure it is going to be a big seller for them. With the trend towards buying American Ruger couldn’t have picked a better time to produce this all American design. In fact my local shop has a good number on order for customers and they want their Ruger now!

    Since I’m a staunch believer in the 1911 and carried one for over three decades any new pistol design that’s released to the market has to standup and be compared with the benchmark 1911!

    The Ruger 1911 slide is CNC machined from stainless steel. The frame is investment cast by Rugers Pine Tree Casting facility in New Hampshire. All other parts are made at the Prescott Arizona facility. A unique feature of this frame casting process is the plunger tube. Normally the plunger tubes are staked on but with the investment casting process it is cast as part of the frame. This prevents the tube from ever coming loose as some staked plunger tubes do. Something else Ruger did is a first in mating parts. When Ruger makes the barrel and bushing they use one piece of barstock for both. They feel using the same exact piece of barstock results in a better fit thus increasing accuracy. To be honest I can’t see how this would increase accuracy but then I am no metallurgist. We’ll see if this indeed works as advertised.

    Most of the small parts visible on the frame are finished in flat black giving a contrast many shooters will like. The magazine is an oversized model and protrudes a bit more than a standard release. It has a flat checkered mainspring housing as most 1911s do. The hammer and trigger are skeletonized. The grips are wood in the traditional double diamond design. They also display the Ruger logo in a dime size insert. The beavertail is an oversized design with a bump built into the base assuring positive disconnect of this safety device. The sights are three dot Novaks dovetailed into the slide.

    The Ruger SR1911 is supplied with two magazines. One fits flush with the frame and holds seven rounds while the second magazine holds eight rounds and fitted with an extension on the bottom of this higher capacity magazine. Both are made of stainless steel. Something else Ruger has done I highly approve of is the use of a standard GI recoil spring guiderod rather than the trendy full length type. Another “thank heavens” feature is the lack of the series 80 safety system if you want to call it that. The Ruger uses the series 70 system which gives the shooter a much better trigger pull and does nothing to make this or any other series 70 unsafe. The solution Ruger decided on was to use a lightweight Titanium firing pin with a heavy firing pin spring preventing inertial movement if the pistol should be dropped on the muzzle. This is the first and only Ruger without a key lock and I hope it remains this way.

    The much maligned billboard warning label is still there but they payed attention to owners who hated that large billboard warning stamped on the side of the slide. It’s located under the frame just forward of the trigger guard. It also seems a bit smaller to me. This change gives both sides of the slide a clean attractive appearance. The thumb safety is also a singe right hand design. I like this because I have never really been a big fan of the ambidextrous safety. It adds a lot of width to the slide as well as making the pistol fit snuggly in the holster of choice allowing the thumb safety to accidently move into the firing position. I certainly have no problem with those who prefer ambi safeties or left handed shooters who need them.

    As far as new models of the SR1911 I expect to see at least one compact version as well as an assortment of calibers. With the investment casting process used on the frame I see a railed version coming along. Time will tell but I doubt we’ll have to wait very long. I’m very fond of the Commander size 1911s. When and if they make one I’ll be in line for one! I’d also like to see 30 LPI checkering on the front strap.

    Caliber .45 Auto
    Slide Material Stainless Steel
    Sights Fixed Novak 3-Dot
    Length 8.67″
    Height 5.45″
    Width 1.34″
    Grooves 6
    Barrel Length 5″
    Twist 1:16″ RH

    Range Time

    I recently got a new field/range holster from my friend Erik Little of “Rafter L Comb at Leather” This new model #5 fit the Ruger very well. It rides low enough to be a great range holster. Other models are available on Erik’s website.

    My friend met me at the range and in spite of my saying I’d supply all the ammo he brought some as well so we were able to put a good number of rounds down range.

    We started at ten yards and worked our way back to twenty yards. He got to shoot first, well it is his gun☺ We had an assortment of Remington, Blazer, MagTech all in 230 grain ball. The hollowpoints were from Hornady and some old Black Talons I tried to talk him out of shooting since they are so rare these days. We shot them anyway and they turned out to be the most accurate, go figure!

    Out of five hundred rounds we shot there was only one malfunction. One Blazer round had a dent on the top edge of the case which kept it from feeding. That is not terribly unusual for Blazer ammo. You don’t see it a lot but one round out of five hundred and you’ll find this same defect.

    Starting at ten yards we both had groups averaging right at 1 ¾ inches with MagTech ball ammo. Moving back to twenty yards the average groups were 2 ½ inches again with Mag Tech ball. Now I usually don’t buy Mag Tech but I may have to reconsider it burned clean and obviously was the most accurate ball ammo in this pistol.

    Moving on to the hollowpoints the old Winchester Black Talons turned in the best groups. The average at the ten yard line ran 1 1/4 inches. The twenty yard groups averaged right at 2 inches. These groups were fired standing unsupported.

    The trigger was a bit on the heavy side. Of course it is a new 1911 and unfired before we hit the range. As our round count got closer to 400 rounds the trigger was a bit lighter. Still for my preference I would likely have an action job done to bring the trigger pull down from just under six pounds to four pounds maximum. Still it had no creep and broke crisp. The trigger is also adjustable with the provided wrench.


    I do believe Ruger has a winner on their hands. Those who want a quality 1911 made entirely in the USA will want this Ruger. It is one of the more attractive 1911s I’ve seen in some time. Not fancy by any means but a good number of shooters prefer 1911s this way. With the understated Ruger logo on the right side and the Ruger name on the left side it just looks classy. Finally, for my taste I love the fact it has no forward slide serrations! I hated them when they came out and now I just learn to live with them. For me this is a real plus! I suspect from others I’ve spoken with it will be a selling point for them as well.

    My friend paid $612 out the door for the SR1911. The MSRP is in the mid $700’s. Buying a made in the USA Ruger with nice features this price is lower than any other 1911 I know of in this class!

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.